Argentina - regional chairman's report

POSTED ON 01/10/2008

As the number of Argentinian entries continues to grow at the Decanter World Wine Awards, expectations grow in line along with the high praise that Argentina has been receiving particularly from the Americans press for its reds. In general, the panel was happy with the quality and character of the malbecs, either on their own, or in blends with cabernet sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties. At the £10 and thereabouts mark, malbec excels as a unique world class product.

Investment Train Keeps Rolling - October auctions

POSTED ON 01/10/2008

With Aubert de Villaine in attendance, this year’s tasting for Corney & Barrow’s offer of the 2005 vintage reds of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti offered a horse’s mouth opportunity to find out if the great Burgundy domaine is able to prevent customers from cashing in their DRC chips instead of drinking the wine. The urbane de Villaine said that he’s so concerned about DRC’s investment value and status that he’s on a mission to try and prevent DRC from being traded as a pure investment.

Old Faithful - Chile Cabernet Sauvignon

POSTED ON 01/10/2008

Your starter for 10: the vineyard areas of Bordeaux and Chile are similar numbers in size but who grows more cabernet sauvignon? Strange to relate, it’s Chile, whose plantings of 40,790 hectares stand head and shoulders above Bordeaux’ 26,750. Although the Chilean drumroll seems to be crescendoing for carmenère, syrah and pinot noir and the talk is of new varieties and new valleys to north, west and south, cabernet sauvignon outguns carmenère by six to one, syrah 12 to one and pinot noir 30 to one.

Digging Deep - Chile Pinot Noir

POSTED ON 01/10/2008

Like ‘interesting’ and ‘promising’, the word ‘potential’ can so often be used to damn with faint praise that when it’s employed in the context of Chilean pinot noir, you can be forgiven for imagining that those who use it, and there are many, are indeed doing precisely that. But why should faint praise necessarily be damning?

The Claret Club

POSTED ON 02/06/2008

After me now:

Cabernet Sauvignon et Merlot,
Bordeaux, Toujours, Bordeaux.
Expriment la saveur des grands châteaux,
Bordeaux, Toujours, Bordeaux.

The Best of Both Worlds - Cahors Today

POSTED ON 01/05/2008

And quiet flows the Lot. Looping like a dozy python under the Pont Valentré past the cobbled streets of Cahors, the Lot River meanders beneath imposing castles such as Chambert and Lagrézette towards Bordeaux. Up from fertile river banks planted with walnut and fruit trees, vineyards lie neatly on its terraced banks as they’ve done, seemingly since time immemorial. On the face of it, nothing disturbs the tranquillity of a serenely wild, sparsely populated region whose claim to epitomise La France Profonde is among the strongest. And yet beneath the surface, something big is happening.

How to Start Your own Wine Cellar

POSTED ON 01/03/2008

‘How do I go about starting a wine cellar’? Rather than ‘is it time to drink this 1960 beaujolais nouveau?’ or ‘where can I buy that nice rosé I enjoyed on my summer holiday?’, this is the kind of question featuring prominently in the wine writer’s FAQ in-tray that I do relish. I’m no longer surprised at how keen so many wine drinkers are to stash a few well-chosen bottles away. What is disappointing though is that too often lack of time, knowledge or confidence turns what should be an adventure into fear of uncharted wine racks, bins and other vinous impedimenta.

Getting Ahead of the Crowds - buying Burgundy en primeur

POSTED ON 01/02/2008

At the Paulée de Meursault one year, the stomach-challenging feast that takes place on the third day of the Hospices de Beaune in November, the burgundians had all brought along a special bottle of something from their cellars for the delectation of the lunching hordes. Not surprisingly, they were duly surrounded by eager guests anxious for a taste of Meursault, Chambolle and Vosne Romanée. Thinking himself rather clever, a solitary bordelais had brought several bottles of rather grand claret from a variety of top-notch châteaux.

A World Apart - New Zealand Pinot Noir

POSTED ON 02/01/2008

When an adolescent ignores a role model, who can say that there isn’t an unspoken element of hero-worship at play. Comparisons are odious, to be sure, yet since Burgundy’s pinot noir is believed to have migrated from Romanée-Conti via an anonymous gumboot, it would be perverse in any account of New Zealand pinot to ignore the B-word altogether. To B or not to B? The 2007 Pinot Noir event in Wellington flew in various burgundian luminaries presumably to make comparisons more odorous than odious. Producers like Bell Hill even candidly admit that their vineyard is modelled on Burgundy.

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